Trending in Paris: French Girl in Seattle reports

I am back, after twelve fast-paced, fun-filled, memorable days in Paris. A few nights ago, I lay wide awake in my own bed, five hours before I had to return to the office. I decided to fight jet lag like a champ, by browsing through several hundred photos from the trip saved on my laptop. This nocturnal Paris trip inspired this story, and the realization that when Paris is concerned, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.) What’s trending in Paris in April 2018? Overall, what was trending in Paris in April 2017, and more than likely , what was trending earlier too. Illustration.

(Still) trending in Paris: les terrasses de café (café terraces)

Like Parisians, they come in all shapes and sizes. Even if they are empty early in the morning, they fill in quickly, especially on sunny days. It does not matter if it is cold or raining outside. Many are covered or equipped with gas heaters, and comfortable year round. trending in Paris trending in Paris

trending in Paris

Why are they so popular, when sitting there often means inhaling second-hand smoke from the table next door, and paying more for drinks? Les cafés are the best place to socialize, to people-watch, and a natural extension to Parisians’ diminutive living quarters. It does not not matter that coffee quality is hit and miss, or that soda does not come with free refills and could bankrupt you. In Paris (and other parts of France,) it is a well-known fact life is best lived en terrasse.

(Still) trending in Paris: Les bords de Seine (the Seine riverbanks)

Ah, la Seine! The French capital’s lifeline remains one of her most iconic landmarks. She continues to inspire, and most Parisian strolls lead back to her.

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trending in Paris

(Still) trending in Paris: l’apéro (apéritif)

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” they say in other parts of the world. Parisians reply: “On prend l’apéro?L’apéritif remains a beloved ritual. It can be simple, your beverage of choice accompanied by a few slices of saucisson or cheese, a handful of peanuts or small crackers. It can be more elaborate. Lately, cafés have been offering dishes “a la plancha,” tapas-style, just like in Spain or the Mediterranean region. Charcuterie and cheese remain popular options.

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Happy Hours (les Heures Heureuses)

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(Still) trending in Paris: the Coffee Revolution

Forget old-fashioned cafés where le petit noir (a cup of bitter espresso) is best enjoyed au zinc (at the counter) with other regulars.

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In the much-touted “New Paris,” small, specialty coffee-shops, mostly run by Americans or Australians (or former French expats) have popped up all over the city, especially in the trendy parts of the Right Bank (10th and 11th arrondissements.) They pride themselves on serving top-quality, fair-trade, freshly-roasted coffee and talk about their selection du jour like a vigneron bordelais discusses his favorite wine vintage. One visits for the coffee experience, the Wifi, but not for the size of the room or the {non-existent} terrace. Tip for foreign visitors: These are the coffee shops you should visit if you are homesick and want to meet other English speakers.

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Café Oberkampf

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{Still} trending in Paris: the Americanization of France

Franglais (French: [fʁɑ̃ɡlɛ]; also Frenglish /ˈfrɛŋɡlɪʃ/) is a French portmanteau word referring initially to the pretentious overuse of English words by Francophones, and subsequently to the macaronic mixture of the French (français) and English (anglais) languages. (Wikipedia.)

Franglais has been an integral part of French life for many years, in ads, in magazines, and in the street. Le Fooding (paper or online version,) is one of the most trusted restaurant guides in France. It has become so big the famed Michelin guide has recently acquired shares in the company! Many French entrepreneurs meet daily in co-working spaces found in major French cities, to create and collaborate with like-minded people. In French restaurants, especially in Paris, the rumor has it le hamburger has been such un best-seller it has now replaced the traditional jambon-beurre sandwich in French hearts. One thing is true at least: Le am-ba-ga can be spotted on most menus, from gastronomic restaurants to more humble eateries.

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Spotted in le Métro: an ad for lafourchette.com, the online restaurant reservation system

Let’s not forget France’s fascination with MacDo! Don’t les Français realize MacDo will be singlehandedly responsible for Manny the woolly mammoth’s extinction? I was able to catch a very rare sighting of an exhausted Manny seeking refuge at le Jardin des Plantes, only to spot MacDo over his right shoulder, seductively calling his name! Run, Manny, run!

Trending in Paris

In recent years, a former French expat has come home to introduce Parisians to texas-style barbecue. As long as diners are allowed to use forks and knives, he should do just fine.

Are bagels going to replace the traditional baguette? Has le hamburger dethroned French fast food? Not so fast, Ronald McDonald: On a recent stroll at la place des Vosges on a glorious spring afternoon, among the many picnic afficionados sprawled out on welcoming grassy areas, I spotted a majority of jambon-beurre sandwiches and its famous cousin, le poulet-crudités, There were a few galettes complètes (savory crepes) too. Yet, not a hamburger in sight.

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{still} trending in Paris: walking

Parisians walk everywhere. Many foreign visitors are shocked to see they lose weight while vacationing in the French capital even if they enjoy generous meals, plentiful wine, and their daily guilty pleasure: une pâtisserie. In recent years, much ado has been made about the art of la flânerie, an alleged Parisian specialty many people (who can’t survive without their car at home and will go out of their way to park right outside the buildings they are visiting) are happy to adopt as soon as they arrive in the French capital. It is Paris’s blessing and curse: The most mundane event happening in her streets is instantly embellished by the enduring “Paris mystique.” Meanwhile, Parisians seem oblivious to visitors’ and photographers’ fascinated stares. They are in a hurry and walk fast, to work, or to an appointment they are late for; later in the day, or during the weekend, they slow down and stroll, taking in the scenery.

{Still} trending in Paris: le trench, le parapluie, les tennis

In order to brave Paris’s fickle weather, especially in April, modern-day Parisians stick to what they know and trust: a good trench coat, an umbrella, and comfortable shoes made for walking.

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Les basiques (basics) are still in

When you walk as much as Parisians do, you need the right footwear. Don’t trust everything lifestyle bloggers tell you: Not all Parisian women spend their days on stiletto heels or ballet flats. Christian Louboutin shoes look best in a window display… or on a pretty woman sitting at a café terrace. They prove disappointing performers on the French capital’s iconic pavés (cobblestones.) For many years now, both men and women in Paris have adopted les tennis, or les baskets. American sneaker brands score big, especially among the younger crowd. More mature customers (including seniors) will stick to basic colors (black, navy, beige.) When they indulge in a whimsical pair (a light pink, silver, or sparkles,) sneakers must match the rest of the outfit, or at the very least the coat or jacket. We are in Paris, after all, not at the local gym! You will find French-style sneakers everywhere. Elegant brands like Inès de la Fressange or JB Martin Paris feature at least a few pairs in each of their seasonal collections.

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La Parisienne’s essentials

There is another reason les Parisiennes choose comfort over high heels: Like many women around the world, they walk the streets while staring at their smart phone screens and can’t take the risk of spraining an ankle. This continues when they ride the Metro. Fewer and fewer Parisians read books (or work) there. Everyone is too busy texting and reading French Girl in Seattle‘s latest blogpost on their telephone screen. Et oui, hélas, smart phones, too, are still trending in Paris…

A bientôt. 

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A French Girl in Paris (Photo C. Redor)

Text and photos by French Girl in Seattle. Please do not use without permission.

 

A message to French Girl in Seattle readers:

The new website I introduced earlier this year is almost ready and should get launched next month. I can’t wait for you to discover it!
In the meantime, continue following French Girl in Seattle on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates about Paris, France, and all things French. — Merci! Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)

 

Dear readers:

If you enjoy exploring France and French culture like a native, consider signing up for la Mailing List to receive exclusive travel stories first via email, or join me daily on Facebook and Instagram.

What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comment section below, (I love reading your messages and reply to most.) Don’t be selfish and share with a friend! Merci. Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)

44 Comments

  • Loved the blog! I am so glad, despite some changes, that Paris remains much the same. When I get to travel there, I want to see all the things I have read and about. Great photos! Thank for sharing.?

  • Eh oui, tout est correct. Absolument! Spot on!
    I listened to your interview on the Earful Tower the other week. Loved it!
    …..and in reference to this show,
    bises from one Brigitte to one Véronique 😉

    • Bises back at you, ma chère Brigitte. Glad you enjoyed the Earful Tower podcast and agreed with my comments. As I mentioned that day, compliments coming from fellow French natives are particularly sweet to my ears. A bientôt.

  • Great report, Veronique! It was lovely to see your chat with French Frye in Paris and to hear your discussion with Earful Tower. You are as charming to see and listen to as your posts are to read.

    Thank you!!!

  • Very nice post, really gives you a taste of what feels like to stroll about Paris.

    I’m ambivalent about the franglais… makes me sad to hear so much English in France, and makes it hard for anglophones to learn the language if francophones are too quick to use English with them. That said, I have si peu d’occasions de parler français aux États-Unis and feel it comes across as snobbish when I try… whereas I feel mournful that my country is so monolingual and ethnocentric, it’s dangerous and sadly limiting….

    • Thank you for sharing your photos of Paris. Enjoyed reading about their lifestyle. Hopefully someday in the future, want to fly out to Paris and sit at more than one of those beautiful cafes!!

    • Merci Susan. This is a complicated issue indeed. The French go a bit overboard with le franglais in my humble opinion. I recently read an issue of the French Elle magazine that had me in stitches because the editor obviously went out of her way to use franglais to sound “cool.” Never a perfect world, n’est-ce-pas?

  • Merci. Je ne suis pas allée à Paris l’année dernière et l’année d’avant je suis juste passée en coup de vent. Je vois que je n’ai pas vu venir la tendance “hamburger”.

    Cette année j’ai prévu de passer une dizaine de jours à Paris.
    Je vais essayer de ne pas être trop timide et de faire des “live” pour partager un peu Paris avec mes étudiants (je suis un French tutor/coach).

    Je ne maîtrise pas assez l’anglais pour écrire de bons blogs comme les vôtres alors je m’abstiendrai.
    Et je continuerai à lire les vôtres.

    Merci beaucoup pour vos blogs et votre page FB.

    • Merci beaucoup de votre visite et de vos commentaires Catherine. Je n’ai pas été assez courageuse (et ai manqué de temps) pour me lancer dans les “Live Videos” pendant cette visite. Je vous admire de l’envisager! Si vous voulez voir un maitre en la matière, je vous conseille les visites guidées informelles organisées tous les samedis matin sur Facebook par mon ami Corey Frye, sur A French Frye in Paris. Si vous n’avez pas encore regardé le “café chat” pendant lequel Corey et moi avons répondu en direct à des questions sur Paris, je vous le recommande. Vous trouverez le lien Youtube sur la page FB de French Girl in Seattle. A bientôt.

  • Plus ça change, plus c’est la même choses.
    It is good that some things in Paris are immutable. It’s also good that other things evolve, that the place isn’t some kind of giant museum. The balance of ancient and cutting-edge, of tradition and trendiness, are what make Paris so tantalizing.

  • Bravo ? I absolutely loved reading this blog! One of my favorites!! It was an update to Paris for me. You have it down pat on what’s trending in Paris for sure. I was there with you…such a fun and enlightening blog. I’m a vegetarian but when I did eat meat..the jambon beure was much better than hamburger. It’s all about the bread ? for me. Peace french girl. xo

    • Sorry, I’m so franglais. I have nobody to practice french with. My mom goes right to English because we don’t have time to blab long on FaceTime. C’est dommage pour moi. Ciao!

      • Merci Sandy. You need to return to Paris yourself and see if you can uncover trends I may have missed there! I know you are more familiar with southern France, and “la province” often rolls differently from the French capital (but not always!)

        As for the use of franglais, that’s ok with moi. “When in Paris, do as Parisians do…” and all that… A bientôt!

  • Having just spent two weeks in Nice for the first time in Europe ever, I have fallen in love with France, as I knew I would likely do. Even in such a short time and speaking no French, I have made some wonderful new ‘forever’ French friends. I can hardly wait to spend a full month in Paris, in May. I will return next year as well as there is simply far too much to see and do in the little time I will be here this year.

    Thank you for your postings.

  • Merci beaucoup for the update on Paris. Marita and I plan to visit again this September and appreciate this information. Sante

  • Merci for the post, once again you’ve made me homesick for jambon beurre, Place des Vosges, et “le mystique”.
    I’ll be back in the arms of Paris in exactly one month. I cannot wait. ?

  • Merci for this opportunity to follow you & your Paris! Your suggestions via songs & movies, I agree, help keep Paris alive in my heart ❤️ when I can’t be there! Your photos are beautiful. as always, Mary Lou
    Veronique, as a teenager in response to my growing love & curiosity for France, I rewrote my name. From Mary Lou, I changed to M.L. later to Emelle (still in my email address). So maybe here I will use my pen name, Emelle.
    My neighbor while I was in college, attended the Sorbonne. Her stories spurred my French pre-occupation plus I was studying costume history & dress design & art. None of these subjects can ignore the thread of Parisian influence. Thee best, in my eyes are French. YSL was my favorite at the time & still is along with Chanel, van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec & Claude Monet. .
    Today I am retired from design & live in the most french of all states, Louisiana. I sell furniture & dabble in interior design. The time to return to Paris is growing.
    In 1998, I took my first trip to Paris (lost my mind, I was so swept away by its beauty & history). 6 days of architectural & cultural sights. I returned the next year for 2 weeks and shopped & lived more like a native than tourist. I had vowed to visit every year but haven’t been back since 2002.
    How did your life get to ….Seattle ? just curious.
    Au bientôt, mon cher, Emelle ?

    • Bonjour et Bienvenue Emelle. Thank you for sharing your story. I have heard so many wonderful ones (and met so many interesting people) through the FGIS blog and Facebook community over the years! I am not surprised you fell in love with Paris. Many do, and she rarely disappoints. Until you return, I hope this blog becomes a space where you can fuel your interest in the French capital and everything French. I do try to write about all of France, not just Paris, here, and as soon as my new website is up, it will be easier to find travel essays I have published since 2010. For now, since you mention Yves St Laurent, I can direct you to a story I wrote just a couple of years ago. If you enter “Yves St Laurent” in the Search box on the blog’s homepage, the blog should take you there. Finally, to answer your question, it was my then-husband’s career that brought me to Seattle 22 years ago. Being a big fan of the East Coast where I visited extensively and studied in college, I would have likely not chosen the Emerald City as my destination, to be honest. I have been here since. C’est la vie. A bientôt, Emelle.

  • Well, I think you just answered the question “What should I wear in Paris?” for thousands of women. Bravo!

    Regarding franglais: One of the classes that I teach explores the different varieties of American English, and early in the semester we talk about the basic things that linguists know about language. One of the most important is that – always – language changes. This is true of all languages, so the idea that French is changing and becoming more “English” does not surprise me.

    I might ask you this: my (non-scientific) observation is that it is primarily American English that is influencing the French language. Is that correct? Perhaps we can consider that this is an indication of the deepening love affair – or at the least, the growing respect – between Americans and the French. Vive l’amour, right?

    I do enjoy your thoughtful and eloquently written observations about France as they take us “below the surface” to give us a glimpse of the realities of the (profound, complex, fascinating) French culture. Merci encore, FGIS!

    • Another great comment. I am spoiled today! Merci beaucoup Debra. Love the last paragraph, and with your permission, may quote you on the new French Girl in Seattle website when it is ready to launch? Please let me know… To answer your question: Le Franglais has been around for a long time. It is possible that, being so immersed (like many other countries) in American culture via films, books, and TV – not to mention their travels – some French people have been enthusiastic when adopting American words and expressions and making them their own. I do not really know, to be honest. No matter. The trend is here to stay, at the great dismay of the venerable “Académiciens” (nicknamed “les Immortels,”) who work at preserving the French language from their seats at l’Académie Française. Merci encore et à bientôt.

  • Your wonderful columns are the next best thing to being in France; I am filled with wonderful nostalgia. Merci bien.

  • Bonjour Vero!

    Bienvenue!!! I really love reading your blog. You are a fantastic writer and you truly bring me back to Paris every time I read your experiences, the descriptions of each neighborhood, the taste of the French cuisine, and much more!
    Merci beaucoup! Keep writing and sharing!! I’m excited to be back in Paris this Fall.
    A bientot!

    marita

  • Chère FGIS – Quel compliment! Bien sûr, vous pouvez utiliser mes commentaires. Une petite récompense (c’est le mot correct?) pour le plaisir que votre écriture m’a donné.

  • Loved this FGIS xx I remember back in 2016 when I was landing in Singapore on my way to Europe and my first visit to Paris. A young couple who were going home to visit family in France warned me “do not expect coffee like you get in Melbourne, with all the coffee art” Many a blog also said “don’t wear sneakers if you want to blend in” I like the honesty of your post as the last two times I was in Paris, I noticed that many people (all couldn’t have been tourists) were wearing flat shoes.

  • Lovely article-Thank you! Even after being home for 4 years, I still miss Paris!! McD’s tastes the same the whole world over, but a baguette only tastes real (to me)in France. Thank you for your blog-it keeps my memories fresh!

    • Avec grand plaisir, Debra. Merci de votre visite! I have personally given up on baguettes when I am away from France. This seemed to really surprise my friend Corey Frye (A French Frye in Paris) during the recent Facebook online chat we had in Paris. Did you get to see our conversation? I think you would enjoy it…

  • French Girl in Seattle (Veronique),

    I so enjoyed following your trip in Paris.I went only once and following your trip just made me want to go back all the more.
    I decided my gift to myself for my 50th birthday would be a trip to Europe; so I saved for a year in order to go for 14 days. I spent 5 days in London and then 9 days in Paris. I took the Eurostar from London to Paris. I taught myself some basic phrase in French so I could be polite, as well as learning to count to 100 for monetary reasons. I found even though I could not speak French fluently, my attempt to speak some French was well received and. I was treated well. I was traveling with someone who spoke more French than I did. We took public transportation everywhere we went and had a wonderful time. We also rented a car and drove to Normandy. Ever since then I have wanted to go back, as I fell in love with Paris and the French. I do however realize that Paris is not the only beautiful place in France as you have mentioned.
    I am so glad I accidentally discovered your website just recently. Following you on Instagram on your tip to Paris has just reinforced my resolve that I want to go back to Paris. Thank you so much for all the information and pictures and the podcast.
    Barbara

    • Chère Barbara. Thank you for this long message. I can tell you yearn to return to Paris, like many people who reach out to me every week. The City of Light does not let go easily once one has been introduced to her, does she? I really hope you get to return soon. In the meantime, visit me here, or on Facebook where we chat about Paris (and France) every day. It is always special to welcome a new member. A bientôt.

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